COLUMBUS – A spokesman for St. Bonaventure Catholic Church told Columbus City Council members it was rewarding to see a “master plan” come together with Monday evening’s vote to vacate 16th Street from 16th to 18th Avenues.
The council approval for closing the street will make way for St. Bon’s plans for a major expansion of its parish center, along with improvements to the church entrance and expanded parking, on the north side of the two-block street section.
“This project is part of a master plan to expand facilities that has been anticipated for 15 to 20 years,” smiled Dan Keiter, a member St. Bon’s parish who spoke on behalf of the church.
The parish, which already owns the property along the south side of 16th Street, began acquiring residential properties on the north side of the street in 2002. The parish bought 11 properties since beginning the process.
St. Bon’s has named Dennis Grennan project manager for the expansion, with construction bid letting expected in December 2018 or January 2019.
The project is now in the final design phase, Grennan said. Construction is expected to get underway in the spring of 2019 and be completed within a year, he said.
“We’ll be removing the existing parish center and the old bathrooms,” the project manager said. Parking will be rearranged and the elevation to the entrance of the church will be removed, he said.
Grennan said parish center seating, which can accommodate less than 100 people today, will swell to about 350 with the expansion.